Posted by Nick Aroutzidis on Dec 08, 2018
December 13, 2018: President Paul Roulston, “Club Ownership”

Head Table:  Our President Paul Roulston, invites, all major chair persons, to join him at the head table.

Today at Rotary:   In December Rotary receives an annual update on the Rotary Respite House over the previous year.  This year Nancy Farr, Manager of the House, spoke and she was accompanied by a mother of one of the first children to come to the newly opened facility in 2004.
 
 
Team from Rotary Respite house Peter Roach, Kelly Brooks Marlene Wivell, Nancy Farr (executive Director) and Susan Melkert. It has been in operation since 2004. Nancy Farr did some then and now updates on clients and impact the project has had on familiies. A great project started and maintained by our club.
 
 
2019 will be Respite House’s 15th year and continues to adhere to the original mandate of supporting children and families coping with physical and developmental challenges with its three bedrooms, fully-accessible building and a dedicated team of professional and volunteer staff.  The House offers programmes such as a summer day camp and a Christmas day camp for children with a wide range of medical and psychological conditions and requirements.
 
Ms Farr reflected on the journey that the House has been on over 15 years.  Looking back brought home to her that the House not only supports families with immediate needs but also has been instrumental in building friendships and life-long relationships between children and parents.  She read a letter from one mother whose daughter Kailee was one of the first children to come to the House when she was 10 years old.  The mother described how the time that her daughter spent there brought her happiness, encouraged her to make friends and was a place to which the girl looked forward to visiting.  For the parents, it was a time “to catch their breath”, focus on their other children, take a step back from the sometimes overwhelming challenges that were their daily life and importantly was a time for them to sleep in! 
 
Ms Farr introduced Marlene whose daughter, Caitlin, stayed at the House at the same time as Kailee.  Marlene used the metaphor of a sea journey to describe their experience with their daughter’s extensive medical condition – calm days, rough seas, storms and so on.  For her the House was a place of refuge for both Caitlin and the family – a place where the little girl could mature, socialize, laugh and know that she was safe and with staff who cared deeply for her.  For the parents, like with Marlene, it was a time for relief from the constant pressure of caregiving.  Both parents felt that the House was instrumental in helping their families to stay together and in giving them the sure knowledge of support, understanding and a second home.
 
Most wonderfully, the two little girls now 25 and 21, have become great friends and share an apartment.  They are fast friends, have independent lives, strong families and even a second family at the House.
 
Ms Farr concluded by showing a brief video of parents and volunteers talking about the House – the impact on all their lives has been profound and our community is stronger for it.
 
Peter Roach thanked our guests and reflecting on those early days when Rotarians unhesitating rallied to fundraise and create the House, commented that Rotary’s commitment to the House, families and the children is undiminished.  Rotarians can be proud of this project and also humbled by a real example of Service Above Self.
 
Scribe: Guy Chadsey 
 
 
Linda Bathe did update on Hospice construction with second floor going up. They are more or less on schedule with opening in Spring.
 
Guests:  Today we welcomed:   Alexa Blowes - St Michaels Secondary School, Riley Mathieson - St Michaels Secondary School, Jared Lasouder - St Michaels Secondary School, Dan Neumeister
Marlene Wivell - Family Services guest, Susan Melchert - Family Services Perth-Huron, Nancy Farr – FSPH, Kelly Brooks - FSPH
 
Draw: Two Draw donated by Clark Mitchell and Anonymous, and won by Mimi Price and Walter Bathe.
 
Make-ups: No report. 
 
Message from Michael Fox:
 
“At Rotary today, I announced that I thought there was a very good chance our club could pick up a project abandoned by the Heart & Stroke Foundation, who have dropped it.  Well, I’ve exchanged emails with Loreena through the day, and it’s a go!
 
Each Christmas for the past several years I have MC’d an event called ‘Cookies & Carols’ co-produced by Loreena McKennitt and the H&S folks, in support of their Foundation.
 
Now that they’re gone, however, Loreena and her associate, Mark McCauley, thought they’d have to cancel this year’s event.
 
I suggested that Rotary might be willing to pick it up, given that we’ve stopped doing the Celebrity Reading of A CHRISTMAS CAROL, which is now being done by Judy Maddren in support of the Stratford Perth Rotary Hospice; but I needed to poll our members to confirm that there was enough support.
 
Well, we’ve got more than enough volunteers; and we’ll just use the infrastructure we created for the Christmas Carol event; ie, Tony Carter will do the poster, and Dave Skinner will print it, and the dozen hands that went up at today’s meeting will staff the event on the night; at the door taking donations, serving the hot chocolate and cider, etc.
 
The volunteer slots will be posted on ClubRunner after I have a phone meeting with Loreena and Mark at 9:00 am tomorrow.  
 
Also I’ll email the members to let them know that that has been done, and will invite those who don’t used ClubRunner to just email me.”
 
December’s Attendance Committee: Ollie Henry (I/C), Basil Hurst, John Kechnie, Mike Nielsen, Fritz Steigmeier, Brent Shackleton, Guy Bellehumeur, Montana Wilson, Geza Wordofa.